rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks FAQ: 3/5

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-= REC.ARTS.COMICS.MARVEL.XBOOKS =-
Frequently Asked Questions
Part 3

Version 2001.01, last updated January 2001
Compilation Copyright 2001 by Katharine E. Hahn

SEND ADDITIONS / CHANGES / DEAD LINKS / MOVED LINKS / UPDATES TO:
Kate the Short, ra...@yahoo.com (mailto:ra...@yahoo.com)


------------------------------

Subject: Table of Contents

If your newsreader has a search/go-to command, you can quickly page
through this FAQ by searching for any of the Contents as spelled. A
plus sign in parentheses (+) indicates a change to the contents listed
since the last FAQ update.

Part 3:

X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS
* Why do so many people hate Scott Summers?
* How many Summerses are there, anyways? (+)
- Simplified family tree
- The third Summers brother
- Timelost children
* What's the relationship between the Phoenix, Jean Grey,
Madelyne Pryor, and Rachel Summers? (+)
- Is Maddie Pryor in Avengers Annual #10?
- Is Jean or Phoenix dead on the moon?
- When did Jean take the codename Phoenix?
- Maddie's back?
* Hey, is Cable really Nathan Summers? Or is Stryfe? Wait,
is Stryfe Cable? Is Ahab Stryfe? Is Nathan Ahab? And who is
this Nate Grey? Why am I so confused? (+)
* What is the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth
supposed to be?
* Does Wolverine have any real memories anyway? How about
real bones? (+)
* Wolverine can regularly regenerate himself from a drop of
blood, right?


------------------------------

Subject: THE ACTUAL FAQS THEMSELVES

Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices
is based on over a decade's worth of articles, interviews, and personal
questions, and as such is not directly attributed here. Now that some of
Marvel's staff members are on Usenet, they are welcomed to correct and
amend any of the answers listed below.


--- Why do so many people hate Scott Summers?

There tend to be two major schools of thought on this. People hate Scott
Summers, aka Cyclops, because:

* Of what he did to Madelyne Pryor
* Readers find him dull and/or unimaginative

On the first count, harsh people with long memories are not going to
soften their opinion of a character's bad behavior. To them it is simple:
Scott left his wife and child to run off after his first love in X-Factor
#1. For the record, Madelyne did issue him an ultimatium and they had
been having marital problems. The best defense of Scott is that Claremont
had written him out and editorial staff of the time declared Scott (and
Jean) must come back. Madelyne was an inconvenience and hence Inferno was
born.

On the second count, many dislike Scott as a one-dimensional follower of
Xavier. Madelyne notwithstanding, they find his goody-two-shoes attitude
just plain irritating. Next to Wolverine, he's a nerd.

It's okay to like Scott, though. Usenet has lots of room for different
opinions.


--- How many Summerses are there, anyways? (+)

Eternity only knows. But being a FAQ, we'll try to provide a reasonably
accurate starting count.

IN THE BEGINNING, lo, back in (Uncanny) X-Men #1, Scott Summers was
presented to the world, ironically enough, as an orphan. His parents had
died in a plane crash, and he knew of no other family. Also in #1 he meets
Jean Grey. Simple enough so far.

Fast forward to X-Men #54. Scott and the rest of the X-Men attended Alex
Summers' graduation. Alex eventually becomes an auxiliary member (UXM #65)
and becomes romantically involved with Lorna Dane. So far, still pretty
straightforward.

Fast forward now to issue #104. While in space, the X-Men met the leader
of a pirate band named Corsair. Sometime later (#108) it turned out that
Corsair was none other than Christopher Summers, father of Scott and Alex.
Christopher and their mother Kate had been kidnapped by the Shi'ar when
flying home from Alaska. Kate had died at the hands of the Emperor D'ken
(Lilandra's mad brother). Scott discovered he had grandparents in Alaska.

In the meantime Jean Grey had gone through the whole Phoenix thing and
died. In issue #168, Madelyne was introduced. Scott fell in love with her
almost immediately, and she was not unamenable to his attention. Scott
proposed in #174, they marry in #175.

Scott and Madelyne disappeared for awhile, but baby Nathan Christopher
was born in #201.

To date, we have:

* grandparents Philip and Deborah Summers
* Christopher and Kate Summers (Kate deceased)
* Scott and Madelyne Summers
* Alex Summers
* Nathan Christopher Charles Summers

Now it starts to get complicated.

In issue #141-142 the X-Men found about about a possible future (Days of
Future Past) where the X-Men had been mostly killed and mutants were
hunted down and killed or enslaved. This future had sent back an emissary,
Kate Pryde, by the power of Rachel Summers. It was quickly established
that time had already diverged because in Kate Pryde's past, Scott had
married Jean and had a daughter Rachel. (Note that Nate wasn't conceived
yet, much less born at the time of this storyline). Fair enough. Except
that in #184 Rachel made her way back to this reality, and eventually to
the X-Men. Scott had been absent at the mansion when Kate Pryde made her
journey, and the X-Men agreed not to tell him until Rachel was ready.
Rachel was already completely shattered by the fact that her mother was
dead, and didn't know how to talk to Scott. (Both Scott and Jean finally
found out the truth in X-Factor Annual #5.) Shortly before Inferno, Rachel
returned in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn (aka Excalibur Special Edition
#1). She popped in and out of Excalibur until issue #75, when she was sent
to the future. She was last seen in The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix,
starting the Askani and finally dying.

In X-Factor #1, Scott (living in Alaska with Madelyne and Baby Nate)
received a call from New York. Jean Grey was in fact alive, and Warren
wanted to create a new mutant team. Scott left Alaska, Madelyne, and
Nathan Christopher behind. Madelyne was not happy, but shortly afterward
was kidnapped with her son by Sinister and the Marauders. Eventually, she
was rescued by the X-Men, but not before losing the baby to Sinister's
clutches. Fast forward to Inferno. Madelyne died, and Scott and Jean took
custody of the child.

All was fine and dandy until Apocalypse got ahold of the child and the
baby got the Techo-Organic virus. Scott was forced to let the Askani take
Nathan into the future. Off in the future, Nathan was cloned (Stryfe),
trained as an Askani (Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix, Askani'son), and
eventually married to Jenskot (aka Aliya). His progeny (or adoptive son;
it's stated both ways) was Tyler, going by the name Genesis (until he died
in Wolverine #100). Cable came to the present in New Mutants #87. He was
discovered to be the child, more or less, of Scott and Jean during the
X-cutioner's Song crossover, with much angst all around. (At the time,
Cable thought he was the clone.) One of the advantages of coming from the
future is that you can be older than your parents.

Scott married Jean in X-Men (Vol 2). #30. For the mother of three kids,
she's never had a baby in our time. She is not pregnant so far, but dinos
can't wait to see what happens if she does.

To recap:

* grandparents Philip and Deborah Summers
* Christopher and Kate Summers (Kate deceased)
* Scott Summers, aka Cyclops, and Jean Grey-Summers, aka Phoenix
* Alex Summers, aka Havok
* Rachel Summers, aka Phoenix II (deceased)
* Nathan Christopher Charles Summers, aka Cable, and Aliya,
aka Jenskot (deceased)
* Stryfe, a clone (deceased)
* Tyler Summers, aka Genesis (deceased)

Scott fought Mr. Sinister several times, as Sinister is for some reason
obsessed by Summers DNA. In X-Men #23, Sinister made a cryptic comment:

"...but I care enough to wish you and your brothers to be
protected from this illness."
"Brothers?"
"Excuse me?"
"You said brothers--plural."
"I'm sorry, did I? I meant your brother, Alex."

Now, Scott has a complex family tree, with all the chronological
displacement and clones, but he had been sure he only had one sibling.
Shortly afterwards, Sinister (under the guise of Milbury), started
stalking a guy named Adam X, including pitting him against Shatterstar in
X-Force #29-30. In Captain Marvel #3, it was revealed that Adam X was the
scion of D'Ken and a human woman. Due to blantant hints in the X-Men (see
X-Men #39), it seemed pretty obvious the human woman was Kate Summers. In
semi-confirmation on xbooks in 1998, Fabian Nicieza wrote:

ADAM X was INTENDED to be the illegitimate offspring of D'Ken and
Kate Summers. Taken from D'Ken and raised on a farming planet.

BUT--and it's a big but--since I never had the opportunity to tell
the entire story, what I intended is worth the screen it's printed
on.

So far this has not had any effect on the rest of the Summers clan, if
they know about it at all.

Just when things were mostly sorted out, Marvel springs Age of Apocalypse
on Summers devotees. As if there weren't enough chronologically displaced
Summerses already, now we have Nate Grey, who inconveniently didn't stay
in AOA but crossed over. Nate is the genetic progeny of Scott Summers and
Jean Grey (test-tube baby, created by Sinister). Nate, going by X-Man, is
essentially Cable except younger and without the T/O virus (and is much
stronger as a consequence). For more information, see the Cable/Stryfe/
Ahab/Nate question.

Rachel reappeared in the pages of Fantastic Four #414. Here, we learned
she had a child with Franklin Richards, named Hyperstorm. This had to be
in yet another alternative future, because Rachel wouldn't have had a
chance to give birth in her own.

One last time:

* grandparents Philip and Deborah Summers
* Christopher and Kate Summers (Kate deceased)
* Scott Summers, aka Cyclops and Jean Grey-Summers (aka Phoenix)
* Alex Summers, aka Havok
* Adam X, aka Xtreme
* Rachel Summers, aka Phoenix II (deceased) and Franklin Richards
* Hyperstorm, aka Jonathan Reed Richards
* Nathan Christopher Summers, aka Cable and Aliya (Jenskot) (deceased)
* Nate Grey, aka X-Man, from an alternative timeline
* Stryfe, a clone (deceased)
* Tyler Summers, aka Genesis (deceased)

The scary thing is this is the simplified version of the Summers family
tree. I've kept it mostly to blood relations, but by widening the field
just a little, it's astounding. "Three Degrees of Scott Summers" as
applied to the entire Marvel Universe is something of a party game on
racmx after the other discussions start to dwindle.


--- What's the relationship between the Phoenix, Jean Grey, Madelyne Pryor,
and Rachel Summers? (+)

Okay, it's Ultimate Confusion time. Once upon a time, there was a X-Man
named Jean Grey. She served well and true with the first team (in the
1960s run of the book), and was around for the new team, in the mid-70s.
She was a telepath, a telekinetic, and was the girlfriend of the team's
deputy leader, Scott Summers, also known as Cyclops.

Well, during the first year of their new series, Jean Grey, in a selfless
act of heroism (UXM #100), sacrificed herself, giving her life so that the
rest of the team could survive a rather brutal reentry from orbit. Then,
from the crash site, Jean seemed to burst forth from the water in a new
form, a form that called herself Phoenix. She said she was still Jean Grey,
but had tapped somehow into a universal power source which called itself
Phoenix--hence her new name.

Phoenix proved to be a bit out of the usual X-Men's power range. She not
only saved the entire universe in her first major adventure, but was also
capable of telekinetically rearranging reality around her to her liking.
Unfortunately, she was also capable of being emotionally preyed upon by
Mastermind and the Hellfire Club.

The windup of this whole affair was the Dark Phoenix Saga, one of the few
storylines from Marvel that actually earned the right to call itself a
saga, and widely held not only to be the best single storyline in all of
the X-titles, but also one of the best stories in all of comics. Torn
between her human and cosmic sides, Phoenix eventually chose to commit
suicide on the moon to save Scott Summers, her lover (UXM #137). In the
words of the Watcher, "Though Jean Grey could have lived to be a god, it
was important that she die...as a human."

The death of Phoenix was also unusual in that it apparently affected the
creative staff as much as the characters they were working on. Unlike a
lot of comic book deaths (and all the cliches that go along with that
term), Phoenix's was referred back to by the characters, and actually had
some long-term effect on the path of the comic book. So much so that it
was a shock in #168 when Madelyne Pryor was introduced, since she looked
exactly like Jean Grey. Even more suspicious, she was the only survivor
of a large plane crash which happened at the exact moment that Jean Grey
died on the moon. Hmm.

Now, there had been a prior (heh) appearance of a Madelyne Pryor in a
Marvel comic--Avengers Annual #10 (note: first appearance of Rogue),
also written by Chris Claremont, featured a little girl who said her name
was Maddie Pryor, who was once sick but is much better now. A lot of
energy was wasted trying to link the two Pryors together until Claremont,
who was notorious for being lazy with walk-on character names, admitted
that the Maddie in Avengers Annual #10 was named after a favorite singer
of his, Madeleine Prior, the lead singer for the folk-rock group Steeleye
Span, and that the two comic characters had nothing in common besides
their names.

In any case, Maddie's familiar looks and shared interests with Scott (they
were both pilots) led to them getting married in UXM #175, and Scott
leaving the X-Men to finally enjoy the peace and quiet of a married life.

Around this time, however, Rachel Summers had successfully projected
herself back in time from the "Days of Future Past" future. The daughter
of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in that time line (Jean was still Phoenix,
but had had a lobotomy performed so that she couldn't access her powers),
Rachel was yet another in the endless line of mutants from the future
coming back in time to try and make things better for their friends back
up the time stream. Actually, she was one of the first--back when she
did it, she was just the second who had pulled it off, so it hadn't
become a cliche yet.

Rachel ended up being adopted by the X-Men, but terrified by all of the
differences she saw around her (Scott marrying Madelyne, for instance),
she didn't tell Scott of her partial relationship to him. The birth of
Nathan, son of Scott and Madelyne, also further distanced her; in her
timeline, she was Scott's eldest child.

This relatively nonconfusing state of affairs lasted for a while, until
X-Factor was given the go by the Marvel editors. The whole "hook" of
X-Factor was that the original X-Men would take secret identities and save
mutant lives while posing as mutant exterminators. Because all of the
original X-Men had to show up for the idea of the comic to work, the New
Defenders title was cancelled to free up Iceman, Angel, and the Beast,
while Scott Summers was shown to be a deserter to both his wife and son by
being called from New York by... Jean Grey.

Yes, to get X-Factor "right", they resurrected Jean Grey. In the pages of
Avengers #263 and Fantastic Four #286, Jean Grey was found stuck in an
energy cocoon by the Phoenix Force, and then freed by the genius of Reed
Richards. The retconned story was now that Jean wasn't possessed by the
Phoenix Force, as before, but merely Xeroxed by it, with her real body
being placed under the sea in the cocoon so it could regenerate from the
radiation damage. Meanwhile, it was the actual deity-like figure of the
Phoenix Force itself who merely pretended to be Jean Grey during all the
adventures it had with the X-Men, all the way up to, and including, the
Dark Phoenix Saga.

Now this last bit annoyed a lot of older X-fans, a population which some
jokers have commented that Marvel apparently doesn't remember exist. The
whole strength of the Dark Phoenix story was that it was Jean Grey, the
human, who was able to overcome Dark Phoenix, the cosmic force, even if
she had to die to do it. Despite the claims from Marvel that the Dark
Phoenix story still had all its emotional strength and punch because the
Phoenix duplicated the emotions and thoughts of Jean Grey and had even
convinced itself that it was Jean Grey, it just doesn't hold up under
even casual scrutiny. It's no longer a human choosing to die from love,
it's a cosmic force pretending it's human who decides to fool a human it
supposedly loves into thinking that it's committed suicide, when really
it hasn't. No longer a sacrifice, it makes it a cosmic shell game, with
Scott's and the readers' emotions as the victims.

Hence you will get the odd comment on Xbooks about how the "real" Jean
Grey died on the moon. Some simply refuse to accept the retcon.

Eventually, Madelyne Pryor was revealed to be a clone of Jean Grey,
created by X-villain Mr. Sinister, in yet another of his endless attempts
to try and get some genetic material out of Scott Summers (in this case,
apparently, a son). Seduced by the renegade demon S'ym, Madelyne was
transformed into the Goblyn Queen (UXM #234), which brought about the
crossover called Inferno. This transformation was revealed to be possible
from yet another retcon.

Now, when the Phoenix Force pretended to commit suicide on the moon (UXM
#137), it sent a portion of itself back to the still-comatose Jean Grey
beneath the waters of Jamaica Bay, in order to give her the memories the
Phoenix had gained in her place. Jean rejected these memories, however,
and instead the portion of the Phoenix imparted them to the then-dormant
Madelyne Pryor, Jean Grey's clone by perennial villain Mr. Sinister. This
was such a traumatic procedure that Sinister was resorted to giving her
false memories of being the only survivor of a plane crash to ease her
troubled mind. It was that portion of the Phoenix Force that allowed
Madelyne to wield the powers that she did as the Goblyn Queen. All this
was revealed by Mr. Sinister in UXM #243. Inferno ended when Madelyne
killed herself in X-Factor #38 (who then fled as a psychic presence into
Jean's mind, only to be expelled forever in X-Factor #50, but that's a
minor subplot). The real Madelyne is dead.

Meanwhile Rachel had ended up over in Excalibur, after becoming the new
Phoenix in UXM #199. She remained so until the Adventures of Cyclops and
Phoenix limited series, when the Phoenix left Rachel for an unnamed
better host. This is a few centuries into the future, however. This mini,
by the way, is when Jean took on the name Phoenix at Rachel's request.
Hard as it is to believe, it's the first time Jean Grey ever used the
name.

So who's the Madelyne lookalike running around in X-Man? At first, readers
thought the Madelyne running around in X-Man was a construct; Nate Grey
apparently created her in X-Man #5 out of her memories floating around in
the ether. This was revealed in X-Man #25. In the same issue, Nate tried
to uncreate her and found he couldn't do it. Of course, no answer is ever
so simple in an X-Men comic book. In the Counter-X issues of X-Man, Nate
eventually found out that the "construct" theory was a ruse. Evil Queen
Madelyne was actually an alternate reality version of Phoenix (Jean Grey).
Writer Steven Grant said that Queen Madelyne wanted to fool Nate, so in
order to make the ruse work she hypnotized herself into being Madelyne
Pryor. This doesn't explain a ghostly Madelyne that appeared in Cable #76.
Some readers figure that Queen Madelyne herself tapped into our Madelyne's
memories floating around in the ether, and that might explain the psionic
connection in the issue of Cable.

So, as it currently stands, barring any future retcons, the relationship
is as follows:

* Phoenix: a really bored cosmic force who currently lends its powers
to an unknown individual.

* Jean Grey: Never had the Phoenix Force, but now calls herself
Phoenix.

* Madelyne Pryor: A clone of Jean Grey, had a portion of the Phoenix
force, killed by Jean.

* Rachel Summers: Was this timeline's Phoenix, but has now gone into
plot limbo.

* Queen Madelyne: An evil, alternate-reality Jean Grey who tranced
herself (and Nate Gery) into thinking she was Madelyne.

On a final note of desperation, I have here some assorted notes from
concerned parties on this star-crossed issue. Al Patterson commends the
FAQ for not even "getting into Madelyne's transformation in X-Men/Alpha
Flight, which demonstrated conclusively the authors clearly never intended
Maddy to be what she became." (The firefountain did not affect mutants, but
Maddy was transformed into Anodyne, a healer. That should be impossible if
she was a clone of Jean).

Likewise, David Goldfarb reminds me that in the first Genosha storyline
Madelyne is shown having a flashback in virtual reality (UXM #238) which
shows her as the little girl from Avengers Annual #10, singing "Gone to
America," which is one of Steeleye Span's biggest hits.

And then Ken Arromdee chirps up, saying "You need to mention Excalibur
#52 here." Paul O'Brien is of substantial help at this juncture. You see,
Excalibur #52 does not help matters. While it was supposed to clear up
Rachel's relationship to the Phoenix, in many ways it complicated it
further. This issue consists of the Phoenix telling its story to Xavier,
Jean Grey and Excalibur as Rachel was lying in a coma. Unfortunately, the
story the Phoenix told did not jibe with what had come before. In Rachel's
timeline, the X-Men never met Phoenix. Jean Grey was killed in a nuclear
explosion in Pittsburgh. Any differing stories would be "memory implants".
That was according to writer Alan Davis. Sadly, that contradicts all of
Claremont's stories that clearly had Phoenix as Rachel's mother. Phoenix:
The Untold Story was published to set up Rachel's past. In fact, that was
the whole point of Rachel's part in UXM #199: claiming the legacy of her
mother. Phoenix:TUS, by the way, is UXM #137 with the original ending.

Rachel's memories were not messed up until Excalibur; she didn't have that
problem during her stint with the X-Men. Mojo was more likely a cause, as
Longshot went through similar difficulties. Another sticky point was the
nuclear bomb. Odds are good Kate Pryde would have mentioned that....

But why would a celestial avatar lie?

Apparently it did, as Phoenix admitted to manipulating Rachel in later
issues. But why? This issue only gets messier. At this point, since we
now have all of the possible reference contradicting themselves, this
neutral researcher says "to hell with it" and closes the subject.


--- Hey, is Cable really Nathan Summers? Or is Stryfe? Wait, is Stryfe
Cable? Is Ahab Stryfe? Is Nathan Ahab? Who is Nate Grey? Why am I so
confused? (+)

It's important to remember two basic things about Cable: he was created
much later than his vastly rewritten history would make him seem, and the
person who created him (Rob Liefeld) didn't set out to make him anything
in particular other than a cyborg with a big gun (history has shown how
such a character is appealing to Liefeld).

When Liefeld landed the job as new penciler for the New Mutants, he
immediately sat down and started sketching out new characters. He didn't
have names for any of them, he didn't have backgrounds, they were just
pretty pictures with no personalities. On the page he sent off to his
editor, Bob Harras, he had a note much to the effect "Hey, here're some
new characters I just thought up. Use 'em if you want to, toss 'em if you
don't like 'em. But here they are." Easily visible among the detritus are
most of the Mutant Liberation Front, and the two characters who would
become Cable and Stryfe.

Walter Simonson, husband of then-NM-writer Louise Simonson, recalls the
design process:

The design for Cable [was] originally one of several designs Rob did
for a villain (designs done for Stryfe IIRC). Bob Harras liked the
design as did Weezie and asked if they couldn't make a good guy out of
him. Weezie was already working on creating a new leader for the New
Mutants (something Bob was also interested in) and the military
background/attitude was always intended to be a part of the character.
Weezie was tired of the Prof. X attitude of whiny leadership that was
always agonizing over sending the New Mutants into harm's way and
thought that an interesting story direction would be to create a leader
who knew the score, understood the dangers, and would in fact view the
NMutants essentially as soldiers, being sent into battle.

Cable was introduced in Liefeld's first issue of the New Mutants (#87),
as the not-yet-then tired idea of a mysterious mutant mastermind who has
been behind the scenes for years, but who we, the readers, have somehow
just never managed to see yet. He took over the leadership of the New
Mutants straight off, and we learned that he had an archenemy, called
Stryfe, whose face was always concealed by a pointy helmet.

Now remember, at this time there was no background to either of these
characters. They had been in existence less than a year. Their creator
hadn't even thought up names for them, let alone backgrounds. When the
word came down that New Mutants was going to be turned into X-Force, with
Rob Liefeld as its plotter/penciller, it was decided that a neat way to
end the New Mutants would be to unmask Stryfe for that dramatic final
panel. The only trouble was, nobody knew who he was really supposed to
be, so they didn't know what his shocking secret identity should be.

Of course, since Cable grew out of the design for Stryfe...

So, there they were. Stryfe and Cable were now twins. Nobody knew why,
but they were, so they started doing stories around that.

Around about this time Claremont was briefly writing X-Factor (#65-68)
(although under Whilce Portacio's plots). The son of Cyclops and Madelyne
Pryor, Nathan Summers, had by this time become a small plot embarrassment
(after all, it was tough to have Cyclops mooning over Jean Grey again
when he had a baby boy by his previous marriage to worry about). Chris
Claremont had never really liked the tot, and apparently most of the
readers shared his sentiments, so in a plot involving Apocalypse and the
Moon, Nathan came down with a techno-organic virus, and was only barely
saved when a visitor from the future, Askani, zapped him up the
timestream to save him with her futuristic medicine (X-Factor #68). The
reason? Nathan would become important to saving a bunch of mutants in the
future, so she couldn't let him die in the present.

Ken Arromdee reminded me to include here the folk legend of the Marvel
edict against having main characters of their superhero titles with young
children. Supposedly because their target audience will not identify with
such people, creators are strongly discouraged from having any major
characters with young children. A quick rundown of the major births in
Marvel, with perhaps the sole exception of Crystal and Pietro's Luna,
shows how strong this apparent edict is. It's highly possible that the
Nathan/Askani storyline came about from this pressure as well.

Around about here Cable was revealed to be from the future. Since Nathan
was now in the future, it wasn't too far to suggest that Cable was really
Nathan. Of course, since Stryfe was obviously connected to Cable somehow,
now the question became "Which of the two was really Nathan?"

Now a neutral observer would probably point out at this time that this
whole mess could have been avoided if these lads had been created with
the usual backgrounds most writers give their characters: you know, like
who they are. But that wasn't the hand that the X-writers had dealt
themselves, and X-readers had no end of fun watching a bunch of plotlines
swirl and weave about whether Cable was Stryfe's clone, or vice versa, or
how maybe they were both clones, or maybe they had nothing to do with
Nathan at all.

Finally, in the Cable series, most of the answers were provided. Cable is
Nathan Christopher Charles Summers (Cable #6), and the cyborg parts are
actually the parts of his body that are infected by the technovirus,
which he holds in check with his amazing telekinetic powers. Stryfe is
his clone, last seen reduced to a mental presence in Cable's head.

This still leaves us with Ahab. Ahab was the Master of the Hounds from a
"Days of Future Past" future--the one that Rachel Summers was from.
Hounds are mutants with powers useful for tracking other mutants, who are
controlled substances in that timeline. Back when Cable still didn't have
a past, Ahab was introduced in the Days of Future Present (FF Ann #23,
X-Factor Ann#5, NM Ann #6, XM Ann #14) crossover. During one fight scene
Cable and Ahab got close to one another, and Cable was shocked to see
some similarity to himself in Ahab. This was compounded by having Ahab
say: "What's the matter? See someone you know?" (XM Annual #14).

Since Cable was revealed as Nathan instead of Ahab, a new past for Ahab
was needed. A new character introduced in Excalibur #72, Rory Campbell,
was obviously intended to end up becoming Ahab, thus freeing Cable from
that unneeded bit of history. To that end, Rory lost his leg (Excalibur
#90) and became Mutant liason for the British authorities (Excalibur
#101).

But wait... we're still not done. Everyone go grab some refreshment or
something now, you've been sitting long enough reading this answer. In
the 1995 crossover, for reasons too bizarre to get into now, Cable ceased
to exist. In the Age of Apocalypse timeline, his counterpart was Nathan,
called the "X-Man". Nathan, who shares a name that fans of the X-titles
should recognize as being a warning bell, is a genetic construct of the
Mr. Sinister of that timeline. Once again, for various reasons that you
had to be there to deal with, Nathan was one of the few survivors of the
Age of Apocalypse into the normal timeline. On top of this, Cable
reappeared with the resurgence of the original timeline, so now we have,
in one way or an other, two (and a half, counting the psyche of Stryfe)
versions of Scott and Madelyne's son roaming around the Marvel Universe,
none of which is actually native to that universe. I don't think Hallmark
prints enough cards for there to be enough for Scott Summers to send one
to each of his relatives on Christmas.

Nate Grey, at least, is easily distinguishable by his name, and the fact
he is at least 20 years younger than the others. He is also, just to be
nitpicky, the son of Scott and Jean (albeit by test tube), not Madelyne.


--- What is the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth supposed
to be?

Once upon a time, this was one of the big Unanswered Questions in the
X-titles. Of course, once upon a time the Bernard the poet was a recurring
character in X-Men as well. Dig those groovy rhymes!

Wolverine and Sabretooth were originally designed, most likely by John
Byrne once he got his hands on them, to be son and father, respectively.
Nothing was ever made of this, besides the usual murky hints behind the
scenes. As time went by the relative popularity of Wolverine versus the
great obscurity of Sabretooth (up until recently, he was still a second-
string villain found working for no-name crime bosses in Spider-Man
titles) made such a revelation rather silly in the eyes of Marvel, so
they just shifted the whole thing over to them both just having some sort
of relationship in the past, but of an unspecified sort.

Recently, Wolverine and Sabretooth have been revealed simply to be former
secret agents who worked on the same team with other mysterious mutants
such as Maverick. A blood test performed by some considerate S.H.I.E.L.D.
medical technicians in Wolverine #42 finally gave us a definite answer:
they aren't related by blood at all. Sabretooth once believed himself to
be Logan's father, but that was merely a vestige of the Weapon X's memory
implant procedures.


--- Does Wolverine have any real memories, anyway? How about real bones?

Apparently, almost all of Wolverine's memories are constructs, thanks to
the ever-dependable Weapon X program and the demands of Marvel writers.
What he had as his original skeleton has become even more of a muddled
pile of murk thanks to the Fatal Attractions storyline. A brief synopsis
of what was once known to be true will be attempted here, but as
discussions on xbooks have shown, this question is a retcon in action,
and even Wolverine fans are still confused over the whole affair. Those
of us who are just neutral bystanders will have to be content with what
follows, and leave the heavy arguments to the knowledgable Wolvie sages
on xbooks.

IN THE BEGINNING, like, pre-X-Men (Hulk #181), even, Wolverine was just
designed to be a spunky teenager working for the Canadian government, who
had claws stuck in his gloves. One gets the opinion that perhaps there
were some slight budgetary problems in the Canadian Secret Service at the
time. There was a suggested subplot which would reveal him to be a "super-
evolved" real wolverine, made into human form by the High Evolutionary,
but that was never followed up on.

Now, when Wolverine was put into the X-Men, Chris Claremont decided that
since he was in the X-Men, he needed to have a mutant power. Furthermore,
he didn't like the idea of having the adamantium claws just part of the
gloves, as then "anyone who could get the gloves could be Wolverine." So,
he revealed that the claws are actually housed in Wolvie's arms.

Eventually, we find out that all of Wolverine's skeleton is bonded with
adamantium. Adamantium is the hardest known non-magical substance in the
Marvel Universe, capable of ignoring point-blank nuclear strikes. Chris
Claremont also revealed that Wolverine was much older than he'd originally
been planned to be. Wolverine's vaunted healing factor wasn't mentioned in
the stories until UXM #142, although it was first shown in the UXM issue
in the mid 110's when Wolverine got his arm chomped on by a dinosaur.

Time passes. We learn that Wolverine may have gotten his adamantium from
the Canadian special weapons project, Project X. There is a good clue out
that the adamantium bonding process was stolen for Project X from Lord
Darkwind, a Japanese nobleman who performed the same sort of operation on
Bullseye, a nonpowered assassin and foe of Daredevil's. Lord Darkwind's
daughter, Lady Deathstrike, has been hunting Wolverine for years to kill
him, since him having that skeleton is an insult to the heritage of her
father. The process was either stolen by or for James Hudson, head of the
Alpha Flight project, which was responsible for the superpowered
protection of the Canadian provinces and interests.

Then comes the Weapon X storyline (MCP #72-84). Wolverine, who up to this
point is thought to just be a fast-healing mutant of indeterminate age, is
now revealed to apparently have had some form of natural "bone claws"
where his metal ones ended up, because when they were filling him full of
adamantium, that's where a bunch of it pooled up (sounds more like a
scientist was skipping on quality control, but, hey, it's comics).

The idea of the Weapon X project was that it would create all these
super-soldiers, and then release them back into the general public with no
memory of who they were as "sleepers." So they wouldn't remember their
experiences at the Weapon X facilities, they were all programmed with
false memories. To help keep watch over this odd idea, a computer program
named Shiva was written, who could take over one in an almost endless
series of robots to hunt down and destroy any Weapon X soldier who,
somehow, showed signs of remembering who he really was. Currently, Wolvie
has fooled Shiva into thinking it killed him.

So, with that added to the muddle, we then get the unusual Fatal
Attractions crossover, where Magneto pulled the adamantium off of Wolvie's
bones through his skin pores (X-Men #25). So, Wolvie (aside from hurting
real, real bad) was growing new bone claws because he originally had bone
claws (and they got covered in adamantium), and Magneto removed the
original ones.

The lastest addition to this saga is that the adamantium was preventing
his mutation from expanding any further. In this case, that meant his
turning into pure animal, with the unbearably heightened senses and
uncontrollable instincts (Wolverine #92).

The memories problem was repaired by Epsilon Red (by the same people who
brought you Omega Red).

As of Wolverine #100, we have a new incarnation of Wolverine. To Larry
Hama's credit, Wolverine did get his adamantium back. For a few panels.
Then Wolverine rejected it and lost what was left of his mind. The current
version is now a mutant who can withstand almost any amount of physical
abuse. Elektra took it upon herself (Wolverine #101) to help Logan return
to humanity, and it mostly worked.

To make matters worse, Sabretooth had been the recipient of Wolverine's
old adamantium. The stuff was then ripped out of Sabretooth and given
back to Wolverine by Apocalypse, who made Wolverine his horseman Death
for a short time. Wolverine #145 displayed the moment in a flashback, but
the first appearance with the metal back was as Death in Astonishing X-Men
Vol. 2 #1.


--- Wolverine can regularly regenerate himself from a drop of blood, right?

Only if you only reread one annual.

In Uncanny X-Men Annual #11, the X-Men get involved in this very symbolic
quest to determine the worthiness of the entire human race, and all that
other light afternoon sort of entertainment. In the end, only Wolverine is
left to strive for the goal, this immensely powerful alien god-gem gadget
thingee. Unfortunately for Wolverine, the alien Horde is right behind him,
and slaughters the poor mutant--but not before a single drop of Wolvie's
blood lands on the immensely powerful alien god-gem which super-cosmically
charges the superpowers of that blood to regrow an entire Wolverine,
adamantium bones and all. In short, don't try this at home, kids, at least
not without an immensely powerful alien god-gem of your own.

The simplest evidence against Wolverine having this amount of regenerative
ability, however, is that in the numerous issues with no alien god-gems in
sight that Wolverine gets pounded in, none of the blood he's leaked so
copiously over everything has ever grown into another Wolverine.


*** Continued in Part 4 ***


--
Kate the Short * http://www.enteract.com/~katew/

Kate the Short

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Apr 24, 2001, 7:00:25 PM4/24/01
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Frequently Asked Questions

Part 4

Version 2001.01, last updated January 2001
Compilation Copyright 2001 by Katharine E. Hahn

SEND ADDITIONS / CHANGES / DEAD LINKS / MOVED LINKS / UPDATES TO:
Kate the Short, ra...@yahoo.com (mailto:ra...@yahoo.com)


------------------------------

Subject: Table of Contents

If your newsreader has a search/go-to command, you can quickly page
through this FAQ by searching for any of the Contents as spelled. A
plus sign in parentheses (+) indicates a change to the contents listed
since the last FAQ update.

Part 4:

X-MEN COMIC BOOK QUESTIONS
* Is Magneto Jewish or Gypsy? Was Joseph Magneto? (+)
* When did the Beast turn blue and furry? Wasn't he unfurry again
for a while?
* Why did the X-Men lose their invisibility to electronic
scanners? (+)
* What is the Siege Perilous?
* Psylocke, Revanche, Kwannon, Betsy Braddock ... help?
* Which X-Men haven't been mutants?
* Is Longshot Shatterstar's father?
* There's an External at my door. What does that mean?
Should I be concerned? Is it contagious?
* Who are the Twelve? Why are they important?
* How do you pronounce Rahne Sinclair's first name?
* What is the Soulsword? Who has Magik's Soulsword now?
* What happened to the New Mutants? (+)
* What happened to Excalibur?
* Is the Malice who worked with the Marauders the same one
that appears in Fantastic Four now and then?
* Do you lose your mutant powers in the Savage Land? Where
is the Savage Land, anyway?
* Where is Morph?
* What happens when the Blob meets the Juggernaut?


------------------------------

Subject: THE ACTUAL FAQS THEMSELVES

Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices
is based on over a decade's worth of articles, interviews, and personal
questions, and as such is not directly attributed here. Now that some of
Marvel's staff members are on Usenet, they are welcomed to correct and
amend any of the answers listed below.


--- Is Magneto Jewish or Gypsy? Was Joseph Magneto? (+)

In X-Men Unlimited #2, Gabrielle Haller states definitively that Magneto
is a Gypsy of Sinte descent. This should have closed the issue, except
that in X-Men #72, we were told that the Gypsy "Erik Lensherr" was nothing
more than a forged identity created by the now-late Georg Okekirk to help
Magneto hide from the authorities, who wanted him in connection with his
wife Magda's death. So the entire question has now been thrown wide open
again, with Joe Kelly apparently putting himself on the non-Gypsy side of
the issue.

Until any further in-continuity evidence is made available by the current
writers, then, this FAQ-keeper is going to forward interested parties to
Alara's Magneto page at http://www.alara.net/magneto.html for all the
information you could want on this subject.

As for the Joseph/Magneto cloning issue, Terrafamilia helps us out: To be
a stickler for detail-- Joseph was emphatically stated to *not* be a
clone. A copy, yes, but not a clone. Astra, a previously unknown character
retconned to having been an original member of the Brotherhood of Evil
Mutants, replicated Magneto using various and sundry bits of highly
advanced alien tech she had snatched over the years during her travels
through the galaxy (she's a high power intradimensional portal style
teleporter). Basically she sent Mags through a molecular transporter type
system and made a copy which she altered to be younger and more pliable.
Unfortunately Mags escaped during his and Joseph's first encounter so
Joseph had time to develop a mind of his own while he was supposed to be
tracking down his quarry.

Joseph's dead now, having sacrificed himself for some reason or another,
and Magneto is his old self, happily ruling Genosha.


--- When did the Beast turn blue and furry? Wasn't he unfurry again for
a while?

The Beast's normal form isn't fuzzy. Up until the cancellation of the
original X-Men series, he looked like a human with an ape-like body: no
fur, but big, elongated arms, hands, and feet. He had the same powers as
he does now: strength and agility.

Then, in Amazing Adventures #11 (1972), the Beast got a job at the Brand
Corporation, a subsidiary of Marvel's evil megacorporation, Roxxon. He
was researching the "genetic source" of mutations (the X-factor), and
isolated a hormone that would activate the X-factor. In typical comic
book timing, as soon as the Beast discovered this wonderful hormone, the
sinister Secret Empire tried to steal it from him. So Hank McCoy did what
any award-winning researcher would do with his potentially Nobel-prize
winning experiment: he drank it.

The resultant enchancement of his mutant nature turned him into his now
famous fuzzy form, but with grey fur, and with a healing factor that would
shame Wolverine--bullet holes healed as fast as they were made. Various
misadventures ensued, until the computer Quasimodo drained the Beast's
excess life energy in Amazing Adventures #14, which left him not only
without his nifty healing factor, but also turned his fur blue.

He stayed that way all the way through his service in the Avengers and
Defenders until X-Factor was inaugurated. In their second issue, a story
was started which brought the Beast back to Brand, where much the same
sort of process left him back the way he was in the first X-Men series.
During the Fall of the Mutants he was infected by Pestilence (X-Factor
#19), resulting in a biochemical imbalance that increased his strength
each time he used it with a corresponding decrease in his intelligence. A
kiss from Infectia (#31) turned him back blue and fuzzy again, this time
with near-Hulk level strength (X-Factor #33).

Since then, the Beast has apparently lost most of that superstrength, and
is back in his "normal," highly agile, slightly-superstrong blue fuzzball
form. One wishes him a most relaxing genetic future to come.


--- Why did the X-Men lose their invisibility to electronic scanners? (+)

After the X-Men died in Dallas during Fall of the Mutants (UXM #227),
they were resurrected by Roma via the Siege Perilous. One of the gifts
Roma gave the X-Men was that they were invisible to electronic scanners,
television cameras, and so forth, to better help cement their reputation
as "legends".

This power served the X-Men well enough during their Australian days
(although, for no explained reason, the computers at the Reavers base
were capable of detecting them, and the X-Men themselves wondered why),
but soon after they went tumbling through the Siege Perilous for a second
time it became apparent that the X-Men had lost their "invisibility."
There being no other explanation for this power loss in the first place,
it's generally assumed by the xbooks crowd that Roma's spell wore off.

Of course, there's a more logical explanation of why and when the X-Men
lost their invisibility to scanners, as explained by Chris Claremont at
the 2000 Wizard World Chicago convention: They lost the power somewhere
between pages 10 and 11 of UXM #279, or around page 1 of X-Men #4. This
was a reference to Claremont's last work on the titles, so apparently *he*
had planned to still have it going when he left the books.


--- What is the Siege Perilous?

The Siege Perilous is a large, brooch-like magical gemstone that Roma, a
powerful mystical entity, gave the X-Men after the Fall of the Mutants
storyline (UXM #229). The whole idea of the Siege was that one could send
people through it, who would be "judged" by some unknown, higher power
(possibly Roma herself), and then be given a second chance at life if
found worthy, so they could try and correct their evil deeds, so to speak.

This interesting way for heroes to rehabilitate their villains lasted for
about one storyline, the original encounter with the Reavers (UXM #229)
in Australia, until the press of crossovers and editorial interference
kept Claremont from using it much more than he did. Claremont was,
believe it or not, reportedly planning on spending well over a hundred
issues of the X-Men based in Australia, and thus his leaving during the
X-Odus could be viewed as somewhat of a relief, depending on what you
thought of the Oz-Men. Indeed, pretty soon the Siege became an escape
route for the X-Men from their enemies, as a series of vicious, horrible
encounters ended up with the X-Men believing themselves better off
reincarnated through the Siege than captured by their enemies. Having
Psylocke control their minds so they thought it was a good idea (it was
mainly hers) helped also. She had a vision in UXM #250 of the remaining
X-Men being turned into cyborgs and left for dead.

So most of the X-Men popped through, and ended up, mostly with amnesia,
all over the world, mostly living lives they felt mostly "better" in than
superheroing--for the most part. The Siege was then captured by Donald
Pierce, who destroyed it (UXM # 251).

The X-Men who went through the Siege were:

* Rogue--Pushed through it by Dazzler (UXM #247). Reappeared in the
Outback in #269, then went to the Savage Land with Magneto who freed
her of Carol Danvers.

* Dazzler--Convinced by Betsy in #251, reappeared in Malibu and found
by Guido in UXM #260.

* Colossus--Convinced in #251, reappeared in Soho as Peter Rasputin,
artist, in UXM #259.

* Havok--Had doubts, but Betsy coerced him psychically in #251.
Reappeared as a Genoshan prelate in UXM #270.

* Psylocke--Went through #251. Reappeared in #256, only to become a
nimbo.

Storm did not go through, as she was captured by Nanny in #248 (although
they thought Havok killed her). She was de-aged, paired with Gambit in
UXM #266, and then re-aged to adulthood in #272.

Wolverine was left to bleed to death in the Australian wilderness in UXM
#251, where he was found by Jubilee.

Longshot had left voluntarily in #248 to find himself.

The original Siege Perilous, by the way, where Claremont got the name,
was the seat at the Round Table of King Arthur which had letters on it
that prophecied that only the "purest and greatest" of all knights would
sit there, who turned out to be Galahad. See the appropriate Malorian
(and other) sources for more on King Arthur, Galahad, and the Grail
Quest. Siege Perilous literally means "the dangerous seat."


--- Psylocke, Revanche, Kwannon, Betsy Braddock ... help?

The two Psylockes are an unusual matter. After the fun with the Siege
Perilous, Betsy Braddock was caught by the Hand, a bunch of techno-
demonic ninjas, and apparently turned into an Oriental (UXM #256), for
reasons too vague to go into here. While odd, and apparently mainly an
excuse to draw Betsy in a bunch of tight-fitting quasi-Asian outfits, it
was still accepted that Psylocke was Psylocke. She just looked...
different.

Then Revanche entered the scene (X-Men #20). She looked just like Betsy's
old body, but had an Asian name (Kwannon). Confused yet? In another
retcon, the unconscious Betsy apparently was discovered by the original
Kwannon after tumbling out of the Siege. Kwannon, who looked just like
the new Betsy's Asian form, touched her and got psychically zapped by
Betsy, somehow passing both Betsy's powers and personalities to Kwannon,
while passing Kwannon's personality to Betsy.

Enter the Hand. The head of the Hand, Matsuo Tsurayaba, was in love with
Kwannon despite her belonging to a rival ninja clan. Now, apparently the
original Betsy was not turned into an Asian, but the Asian body of
Kwannon was brainwashed by the Hand into believing that she was Betsy. In
this they had help from the demonic dancer of Mojo, Spiral. Meanwhile the
original Betsy's body was programmed by Spiral, behind the scenes, to
still think it was Betsy but remember that it was Kwannon once, just to
bug Matsuo. All of this was sorted out in X-Men #31-32.


--- Which X-Men haven't been mutants?

Mimic, the original Phoenix, Longshot, and (possibly) the two Psylockes.

Mimic is Calvin Rankin, the son of a scientist, who got caught in an
explosion in his father's lab, and gained the ability to copy superpowers
of every superhuman near him, and keep all the powers until the people he
stole them from were over a mile away or so. He's been killed a number of
times in a variety of filler stories, and brought back just as often to
just die again. Scott Lobdell tried to retcon this in a backup story
somewhere by saying that Rankin was a latent mutant who just got his
powers started up by his father's explosion. While there have been other
latent mutants who have gained access to their powers in such dramatic
ways in Marvel history, Scott Lobdell is also responsible for such
continuity goofs as Storm declaring she resents and hates her thieving
heritage, and all of X-Men Unlimited #4, while the Official Handbook of
the Marvel Universe still has Rankin as a non-mutant. This FAQ will go
with the OHOTMU.

The original Phoenix (the one in UXM #101-137) was once Jean Grey, who
was a mutant, of course, but has since been retconned into being the
cosmic Phoenix Force itself, just pretending to be Jean Grey. As a cosmic
entity, Phoenix automatically is disqualified from being a mutant; they
have enough troubles as it is. See the entry on the Jean Grey/Phoenix
relationship question in this FAQ for more information.

Longshot was a genetically-designed being from the dimension of the
Spineless Ones. As an artificial life form, he cannot, by definition, be
a mutant; his "free will" could be described as a design malfunction, but
actually, it was programmed into him by Arize (Longshot #1-6). Even if he
showed up on a mutant detector, something for which there is no textual
support, he's still not a mutant, because nothing in his genetic makeup
happened by mutation. He was built from the ground up.

The original Psylocke, Betsy Braddock, is the sister of Brian Braddock,
aka Captain Britain. Both she and her brother gain their powers from
their not-entirely human heritage (their father was from Otherworld).
This was stated directly in her pre-X-Men appearances, as recounted now
in the "Captain Britain" trade paperback. However, there are statements
made in the X-titles clearly identifying her as a mutant--including a
caption where Betsy described herself as a mutant in UXM #213, and an
identification by the Master Mold in UXM #247. One reader points out
that telepathic powers are unusual even for the Otherworlders--Brian's
powers are more typical. While this doesn't prove that she is both a
hybrid and a mutant, it adds a little credibility to the notion.

Kwannon may have been a mutant, or it may have been simply genetic
engineering--it was revealed that she was a low-level empath, with her
source of powers undetermined. (However, this generally means "mutant
powers", especially where the X-titles are concerned.) The practical
upshot of all this is that since Psylocke is now occupying Kwannon's
body, the question of her mutancy no longer concerns her Otherworld
origins.


--- Is Longshot Shatterstar's father?

Maybe, maybe not. This idea generally comes from X-Men #11, where Dazzler
says to Longshot: "'Shatterstar'? You've got to be kidding!" (They had
just found out she was pregnant.) This and the fact that both are from
Mojoworld are what most people base the relationship on.

Fabian Nicieza, who was writing X-Force at the time, was rather upset
about this. He intended no such thing, and soon made a point of giving
Shatterstar a different origin. According to X-Force #39, his real name
is Gaveedra 7 and he was born in a test tube. Also, in Dazzler's last
appearance (X-Men #47), it was strongly hinted she had miscarried. So, as
things stand now, there is probably no relation.

However, one writer's original intentions don't always conicide with the
conclusions of later writers. The following bits of in-continuity trivia
complicate this question considerably:

* According to Beast, Shatterstar has the exact same DNA as Longshot.
This is an interesting dangler, especially in light of the fact that
Longshot and Shatterstar don't even have the same number of fingers.

* According to Spiral, Shatterstar is the son of an "Arize-spawn" and
a human. Longshot and Dazzler are the obvious suspects here, but the
story was deliberately vague on this point.

(FAQ-keeper's note: I don't have any issue numbers handy for these events.
If anyone out there does, please forward 'em to me at ra...@yahoo.com.)

I'd love to say that X-Force #60-61 (The Origin of Shatterstar!) resolved
this. Heck, I'd love to say these issues resolved anything at all. They
don't. All it did was move Shatterstar into the body of Benjamin Russell
and make Spiral somehow involved. That doesn't really get at any of the
answers this FAQ-keeper was looking for, and doesn't say anything about
Longshot particularly.

However, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The whole Benjamin
Russell/Shatterstar question was brought up in X-Force #56, when the
Gamesmaster told him that "Shatterstar" was nothing more than a sick
fantasy of Gamesmaster's creation. X-Force #76, however, has Mojo telling
Arcade that Shatterstar is still his own property, "no matter what the
omnipathic Gamesmaster wishes to believe." While this doesn't yet answer
the question of Shatterstar's parentage, it does place Shatterstar's
origin squarely back in Mojoworld.


--- There's an External at my door. What does that mean? Should I be
concerned? Is it contagious?

First off, don't be alarmed. Many Externals are simply poor excuses for a
supervillain, too innately lame to make a living any other way, and they
are probably only looking for a handout. Treat them with kindness,
patience, and respect, and they'll probably leave you alone, although
they may mutter a bit about impossible designs and grand world-spanning
plans before they leave.

The Externals first showed up in the storylines of Rob Liefeld in X-Force
#10. The idea was that they are a type of mutant whose "full potential"
is not realized until they're killed. And then they're reborn, and they
become, well, immortal, except they could only be killed by cutting off
their heads, or something like that. In any case, any similarities between
Externals and the immortals from the movie Highlander are obvious and
often commented on. Currently the term is mainly used to refer to any
mutant that enjoys immortality by virtue of his mutant powers.

X-Force #37 is possibly the closest thing the Externals will ever have to
an origin issue. It explains how En Sabah Nur (aka Apocalypse) found the
Celestial ship, how old each of the Externals actually were, and why they
acted the way they did. Apocalypse's origin is explained in more detail
in his limited series, "The Dawn of Apocalypse".

Anyway, so much for immortality. Selene killed most of them off in X-Force
(#52-53). The only ones left are Selene, Candra (who may or may not have
died in X-Men #61), and Apocalypse. Apparently Cannonball wasn't one of
them after all, according to Selene in X-Force #53.


--- Who are the Twelve? Why are they important?

The Twelve, in no particular order, are Magneto, Xavier, Cyclops, Cable,
Jean Grey/Phoenix, Mikhail Rasputin, Iceman, Storm, Sunfire, Polaris,
Bishop, and the Living Monolith/Living Pharaoh. They were gathered by
Apocalpyse in his quest to become a godlike being with more power than
the Phoenix force or the Celestials.

According to Uncanny X-Men #377 (specifically Apocalpyse):

The Monolith is at the core of it all, as the primal earth which is
the foundation for all that is to be mine. Magneto and Polaris are
opposing magnetic poles, serving to control the flow of energies at
play here... energies under constant pressure from the forces of
nature itself. The elemental extremes of Iceman, Storm, and
Sunfire... stimulated by the unrestrained energies of man and the
heavens, free of any grounding or gravity. Father, mother, and
son-- Cyclops, Phoenix, and Cable-- far, far stronger as a whole
than the sum of their parts... linked to the powers of time and
space wielded by Bishop and Rasputin, respectively. The power of
pure thought that is Xavier.

Nate Grey was the 13th member of this merry band, and was slated to
become Apocalypse's new host body. Unfortunately, things didn't go as
planned. Instead, Cyclops sacrificed himself and became a merged half-
Apocalypse being. The team members consider him dead. This FAQ should
also note that Wolverine served as Death, the fourth horseman of
Apocalypse, during much of the shindig. The being they thought was
Wolverine was actually a Super-Skrull so brainwashed into his disguise
that even *he* didn't know he was anything other than Wolverine.

Of course, the final version of the Twelve contradicted much known about
the Twelve up to that point. First, the original Twelve were a vision by
a deranged Sentinel of the dozen most important mutants. The problem is,
these twelve had shown up in other issues (Power Pack #36, X-Factor #14,
X-Factor #68) as well, and even they hadn't been consistent.

The members who had shown up in every version of the Twelve were Xavier,
Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Franklin Richards. What of the other
seven? In one version, all the original X-Men were implied. Cable, in
both baby and adult forms, was shown in another. Cannonball was clearly
shown in one version. So, we add Iceman, Beast, Archangel, Cable, and
Cannonball to the list. Other possibilities included Dani Moonstar,
Mystique, Psylocke, Wolverine, and Dark Beast.

Uncanny X-Men #-1 cleared up the origin of The Twelve, albeit somewhat
ambiguously. Sometime after Rachel Summers switched places with Captain
Britain in the timestream (Excalibur #75) she rescued and befrended
another time-lost refugee from the 20th century named Tanya Trask, the
daugter of the original creator of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask. Upon
learning of her father's genocidal legacy, Tanya determined to alter the
timeline by reaching back to the past and convince her father of his
doomed path. Rachel followed her back and erased the memory of her
contact with her father, seemingly setting the timeline right again.

However, it turned out that Tanya's true plan was to store within the
memory banks of Trask's first Master Mold--so deeply even Trask himself
(and later his son and successor Larry) were unaware of it--the identity
of the infamous "XII", The Twelve, whose failure Tanya determined as the
true cause of her dark future and without whom, somehow, mutant genocide
and Sentinel conquest will be averted. Their identity, however, was never
divulged.


--- How do you pronounce Rahne Sinclair's first name?

Like "Rain," as in the liquid from the sky. This is given in a number of
canonical sources. In X-Factor #87, her dreams are Rahne's World, Rain Man
and Rahne and Stimpy. The puns don't work otherwise.


--- What is the Soulsword? Who has Magik's Soulsword now?

Possibly Magik does, possibly Margali does. At any rate, it's back in
Limbo, and out of the X-Men's side of the universe.

The Soulsword was created from a piece of Illyana's own soul in issue #4
of the Magik Limited Series, and ever since then has been the symbol and
source of its owner's mastery of the otherdimensional realm of Limbo.
After the teenage Illyana reverted to her younger self in the wake of the
Inferno crossover, the Soulsword appeared in a rock outside Excalibur's
lighthouse for Kitty Pryde to claim. She, however, was quite willing to
leave it there, based on her previous experiences with it. (She became
the owner of the sword previously during the Secret Wars II crossover, in
New Mutants #35-37, when Illyana was temporarily killed by the Beyonder.)

In Excalibur #37, Dr. Doom showed up at Excalibur's door with a proposal
to go to Limbo with Kitty and the Soulsword in order to mine the place
for an energy-producing metal called promethium. Doom eventually tricked
Kitty into letting him have the sword, which he stuck into the heart of
Limbo to convert the entire planet/dimension/place into promethium. Doom
got out before the place went critical, leaving the sword behind. It was
claimed in issue #39 by the pseudo-demon Darkoth, who remained alone in
Limbo with the sword. And the matter was thought to be done with.

That is, until Scott Lobdell handed Warren Ellis a plot for the Soulsword
Trilogy (Excalibur #83-85). Lobdell was apparently completely unaware of
the aforementioned Promethium Exchange storyline, but we can reconcile
this by simply noting that something bad must have happened to Darkoth
between issues #39 and #83. In any event, the Soulsword started to
manifest itself in Kitty's possession again, and two other new characters
named Gravemoss and Shrill tried to take it from her. Eventually the sword
was passed off to Nightcrawler's sorceress girlfriend Amanda Sefton, who
made the mistake of giving it to her mother, Margali Szardos.

Sometime after that, Belasco abducted Margali and stole the Soulsword. In
X-Men Unlimited #19 a fight to get it back took place, and it was last
shown plunging to the ground in Limbo. A silver-armored hand reached up
to grab it, but we never saw who that was. Presumably the hand is Magik's,
but how she got to be there in the first place is deliberately left to
some future writer to try and explain. The recent appearance of Illyana as
a ghost (as well as rumblings that Magik will be returning to the titles)
means that the question may finally be answered.


--- What happened to the New Mutants?

It turned into X-Force.

Oh, you mean the characters! The first of the NM to leave was Xi'an Coy
Manh, aka Karma. She left the NM to find her siblings, Leong and Nga.
This involved hanging out with Wolverine. Karma most recently popped up
in X-Force #75, noting that she was living in New York. With pink hair.
On a related note, Karma lost all that weight in Asgard. The Fates put
her in the desert, with a small child to defend. After a few months, she
was back to her original figure. This all happened in Special Edition:
New Mutants #1. (Also available in the Asgardian Wars TPB).

Magma was the next to go. She decided the Hellions was more her style,
and left Xavier's in NM #56. In NM #62 she got a letter from her father
requesting she come home. Empath went with her (at the White Queen's
request). Amara did not have a happy ending; while she did avoid the
massacre of the Hellions, her whole life was ripped out from under her in
New Warriors #31. Nova Roma wasn't established by the Romans after all.
It was established by Selene for no apparent reason with a number of
brainwashed Britons. Amara was in fact Allison Crestmere, daughter of the
English ambassador to Brazil. After Child's Play she went to find her
life. Most recently, Magma appeared as a member of the New Hellions
in a few issues of X-Force.

Doug didn't do a whole lot better. He died in NM #60, during Fall of the
Mutants. He took a bullet that the Ani-Mator intended for Rahne. (Yes,
the same Ani-Mator responsible for Bird-Boy). While we're on the subject,
we should squash the rumors about Doug's demise, with help from creator
Louise Simonson (who wrote to racmx in 1999):

As for killing poor Cypher...I did that for several reasons. (There
was a rumor at the time that he was killed because the artist hated
drawing him. Another that I hated him because I had to keep twisting
stories to find some instance where there was language that had to
be translated.)

The real reason was...I know you'll find this hard to believe...
there was a write-in campaign from LOTS of readers who hated him and
thought he was boring and wanted us to get rid of him. Preferably...
they wanted him dead. We got LOTS and LOTS of these letters.

So I decided to call these readers' bluffs and do exactly what they
were asking for. (On the other hand, I never kill a character without
knowing exactly how I'm going to bring them back...if I so choose. It
is comic books, after all! With Doug/Cypher, the way was obvious.)
Sooo...

I decided to have him die a noble death of loving sacrifice, saving
his dear friend Rahne. And (surprise, surprise) we started getting
LOTS of letters asking, "How could you? Doug was my favorite
character?!!!" (My favorite letter... and I think one of the most
honest... said, "I used to hate Doug and thought he was boring and
wanted him to die, but now that he's dead, I've realized he was ALWAYS
MY FAVORITE CHARACTER!") Lots of folks missed Doug ... after he was
gone.

Sadly, that was not the end of his story....

But first Warlock. Warlock never quite recovered from the death of Doug,
but he didn't have long to worry about it. He died himself in NM #95,
during the X-tinction Agenda. After repeated drains on his energy (some
voluntary, some not) Cameron Hodge sucked out the rest. What little
remained of Warlock was spread over Doug's grave.

Doug and Warlock were not left to rest in peace. Instead, "they" were
resurrected by Zero as Douglock (in Excalibur #77) for the Phalanx
Covenant. Paul O'Brien explains the plot: "This was addressed well in
early issues of Warlock's solo title. Basically, the Phalanx are anything
that's been infected by the Technarch's technovirus but haven't been
consumed. The Technarch regard the Phalanx as abominations, and so the
technovirus is programmed to make the Phalanx want to summon the Technarch
to their aid (so that the Technarch can easily locate them and wipe the
bastards off the face of the earth). Thus explaining the Phalanx's plan
in the Phalanx Covenant storyline." The resurrection was rather difficult
for Rahne, because Douglock retained many of the memories of Doug. Now, of
course, Warlock knows he's just a resurrected Warlock. He last resided on
Muir Isle with Rahne and Moira, the Warlock title notwithstanding. Doug,
as Kitty Pryde can personally attest, is still in his coffin and grave.

Illyana had her final battle in Inferno. After the good in her finally
overcame the evil in her once and for all, she was reverted to the child
she was before she encountered Limbo (NM #73). She went to live with her
parents in Russia until the Soul Skinner killed them (X-Men #18). Her
final storyline included dying of the Legacy virus (UXM #303). She did
appear as a ghost in an issue of Uncanny X-Men.

After Inferno, Dani Moonstar started suffering a fever, which turned out
to be the doing of Hela in Asgard. After sorting everything out, Dani
decided to stay in Asgard (NM #87). Later she appeared as Moonstar, a
member of the MLF (X-Force #27). In X-Force Annual #3, it was revealed
she was working undercover for Cable, and was briefly reunited with the
team during LegionQuest (X-Force #43). She vanished again, and reappeared
working for SHIELD. After rejoining X-Force, she gained quantum powers,
and finally lost *those*. After leaving the team, she has appeared as an
assistant to Wolverine in the core titles.

Rahne didn't make it out of Genosha intact (X-tinction Agenda); she was
turned into a Mutate. While most of the damage was undone, it left her in
permanent Wolfgirl mode as she joined X-Factor (#71). Being in X-Factor
was rather awkward for her though, because she was still bonded to Alex.
Much to the relief of all involved, she was cured by Haven in #99. After
Age of Apocalypse and the heart attack of Guido, she decided to live on
Muir Isle while her guardian Moira dealt the Legacy Virus. She was last
seen in the pages of Excalibur and Warlock.

Bobby quit the NM to go work for Gideon in NM #99. He later became
Reignfire in the future (first seen in X-Force #26) and created the MLF.
He recruited Dani after her fall from Asgard. He was Reignfire until AOA
(X-Force #43), then suddenly he wasn't anymore. It's been said that Cable
did it with some Askani mind techniques. Roberto later became a full
member of X-Force. Unfortunately, he was lured into the Hellfire Club by
Selene, who promised to bring Roberto's dead love, Juliana Sandoval, to
life in another dead girl's body.

Sam became the field leader of X-Force and died in X-Force #7, only to be
reborn in X-Force #9. Since then, his External (think Highlander) status
has been put in doubt by Selene, who hinted that Cable may have set the
whole thing up. He was promoted to the X-Men team, but later returned to
lead X-Force.


--- What happened to Excalibur?

Alan Davis, creator of Cerise, Kylun (based on the boy from Excalibur #1,
created by Claremont/Davis), Micromax, and Feron, quit to do other
things. After his departure, Marvel decided they wanted Excalibur to be
more of a mutants-only title, and started systematically getting rid of
the interlopers.

Excalibur #58 was the last of the Davis issues, although #56-57 were
actually scripted by Scott Lobdell. The issues after were written by
Scott Lobdell and/or Richard Ashford, and are stories that make Excalibur
fans howl in agony, even before the undignified retirement of characters
fans had come to like.

Cerise left in #70. Cerise had been in the Shi'ar military before her
time in Excalibur, on a recruiting ship. Not approving of the atrocities
the crew committed in the name of the Shi'ar Empire (looting, pillaging,
genocide, etc.), she sent the ship into a sun. She did teleport herself
out first--that's how she landed in Excalibur. Now, Lilandra could not
let this pass. While she did not want her military committing such crimes
and sullying the name of the Empire, neither did she want unhappy
soldiers destroying valuable starships. Her solution was to sentence
Cerise to work for her as an aide, rooting out similar abuses. While a
cushy civil service job is better than a prison planet, this did preclude
Cerise staying on Earth. (Excalibur #68-70).

At least Cerise got a send-off; the others didn't do quite so well. But
Ben Raab, the last writer on the title (which was cancelled after issue
#125), was kind enough to answer the pleas of fans to get the dangling
plotlines regarding these characters resolved once and for all.

Feron was last seen under a waterfall, pining with Meggan (#71). Meggan
eventually got out, but Feron was forgotten about by the rest of the team
until he resurfaced in #124.

Micromax went to America to pursue a job offer (#71). As of #125, he's
still unemployed.

Kylun went to look for his family (#71), and is still living with them
(#125).

Rachel was also part of the purge; she replaced Captain Britain in the
timestream in #75. She popped back out of the timestream far in the
future in The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix LS #1, and by #4 had died
of natural causes.

Pete Wisdom broke up with Kitty in the early 100s of the title. He'd
resurfaced as a mentor/leader of X-Force until his apparent death.

Brian Braddock and Meggan finally had their wedding in Excalibur #125.

Kitty, Kurt, and Piotr, who had joined Excalibur after recovering from
their Mutant Massacre/Marauders injuries, made their collective way back
to the United States, just in time to lose all of their powers along with
the rest of the X-Men, regain their powers, and fight Apocalypse.


--- Is the Malice who worked with the Marauders the same one that appears
in the Fantastic Four now and then?

No. The Malice who worked in the Marauders was some sort of pure psionic
entity who could possess people and make them into "dark versions" of
themselves. She eventually got stuck in the body of Lorna Dane by the
machinations of Mr. Sinister (UXM #239), which led to the Malice persona
eventually being zapped out of Lorna by Zaladane, the purported Queen of
the Savage Land (in UXM #250). Mr. Sinister finally destroyed this Malice
in X-Factor #105 because she had outlived her usefulness.

The Fantastic Four's Malice, who occasionally possesses Susan Richards
(the Invisible Woman), has nothing to do with Sinister's Malice. This
Malice was a mental creation by the fourth Hate-Monger and the Psycho-Man,
and it is merely the alternate personality of Sue Richards as an "evil"
person. Same idea, different approach.

However, the Vertigo that worked with the Marauders is the same Vertigo
that started out with the Savage Land Mutates. Just while we're on the
subject of Savage Land and Marauders.


--- Do you lose your mutant powers in the Savage Land? Where is the Savage
Land, anyway?

The Savage Land is one of the fixations of Stan Lee, co-creator of much
of the Marvel Universe, that has survived longer than other favored plot
ideas of his (how many Marvel comics are taking place around a circus
currently, for instance?).

The Savage Land is a direct tribute/descendant/ripoff of those classic
"Lands that Time Forgot" sf/fantasy stories. It's in that "peninsula"
sticking out of Antarctica, and the horribly complicated history of it
can be found in various editions of the OHOTMU. Basically, it was set up
as a type of alien wildlife preserve, and it's been run by a variety of
administrations since (currently, no one is in charge of the elemental
machineries that keep the Savage Land warm and tropical in the midst of
the vast ice field).

The X-Men have had numerous adventures in the Savage Land, and are good
friends with Ka-Zar, the main hero of the Savage Land, as well as with
the tribe of the Fall People. In none of those cases have the X-Men ever
lost their powers just from being in the Savage Land, although various
villains they've fought there have dampened their powers while in there.

This question largely comes from X-Men: the Animated Series fans, since
the Savage Land in X:TAS apparently drains the mutant powers from those
mutants who visit it. (It may be that the X:TAS Sinister had something
to do with that as well.) This is most certainly not the case for the
comic-book X-Men and Savage Land, though.


--- Where is Morph?

While we are on XTAS questions, let's get Morph settled. He only appears
in the cartoon and in Age of Apocalypse.

Morph is based on an X-Men associate named the Changeling who appeared in
very early issues of the comic; he is now deceased.


--- What happens when the Blob meets the Juggernaut?

What happens when the unmovable object meets the irresistible force? In
this case, it's easy. Magic, in the case of Juggernaut, wins. The Blob is
merely very, very difficult to move, not impossible. The unstoppability,
on the other hand, derives from the Crimson Gem of Cytorrak. As magic, it
can't be defeated by mutant powers.


*** Continued in Part 5 ***

Kate the Short

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-= REC.ARTS.COMICS.MARVEL.XBOOKS =-
Frequently Asked Questions

Part 5

Version 2001.01, last updated January 2001
Compilation Copyright 2001 by Katharine E. Hahn

SEND ADDITIONS / CHANGES / DEAD LINKS / MOVED LINKS / UPDATES TO:
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------------------------------

Subject: Table of Contents

If your newsreader has a search/go-to command, you can quickly page
through this FAQ by searching for any of the Contents as spelled. A
plus sign in parentheses (+) indicates a change to the contents listed
since the last FAQ update.

Part 5:

RACMX NEWSGROUP / COMICS INDUSTRY QUESTIONS
* Why did Chris Claremont leave the X-titles? Why did Peter
David leave X-Factor? (+)
* Are any Marvel staff reading xbooks? (+)
* Why do all those annoying dinos keep on complaining about
the X-titles here? If they don't like the books, why do they
read them?
* What is this Kid Dynamo thing? Where can I find it?

X-MEN OTHER-MEDIA QUESTIONS
* How is _X-Men: The Movie_ different from the comics?
* What cameos are there in _X-Men: The Movie_?
* What other movies or cartoons are there?

OTHER XBOOKERS WHO MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE

HISTORY OF THIS FAQ

CREDITS


------------------------------

Subject: RACMX NEWSGROUP / COMICS INDUSTRY QUESTIONS

NOTE: These questions pertain to the creators of the X-titles and the
readers of the rec.arts.comics.marvel.xbooks newsgroup.

Background information on the creators and the X-titles editorial offices
is based on over a decade's worth of articles, interviews, and personal
questions, and as such is not directly attributed here. Now that some of
Marvel's staff members are on Usenet, they are welcomed to correct and
amend any of the answers listed below.


--- Why did Chris Claremont leave the X-titles? Why did Peter David
leave X-Factor? (+)

For this question, the FAQ-keeper is going to try and be as objective as
possible, which is tough on a question in which all information has so far
come in from interviews in fan press. However, this is definitely a FAQ,
and deserves being treated in this FAQ. Here's hoping for objectivity.

Chris Claremont left the books he had worked on for almost half his life
because of one person, the X-titles group editor, Bob Harras. Claremont
had often stressed in interviews how important having an editor who worked
well with him on the stories was, and was thankful that all the editors he
had had (this was during Nocenti's reign) had been wonderful and talented.
Obviously, something went wrong as Harras took over, although the eventual
cause was due to problems on both sides.

The problems have been revealed in a few interviews. Harras is in a bit of
a hot seat in the very competitive, corporate atmosphere of Marvel. One
slip of the titles, and he has to explain himself to his superiors. He's
therefore always interested in keeping the books popular and selling well,
a sensible attitude for any editor.

Something that obviously caught his eye was the huge upswelling of fan
support for artists of the "Image" type (although they weren't called that
back then, since Image hadn't been created yet). Rob Liefeld, Jim Lee,
Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Whilce Portacio were at the forefront
of a style in comics that was very popular at the time. So popular that
when McFarlane requested a title to try out his burgeoning desire to write
his own stories on, he got one starring the Marvel flagship character,
Spider-Man. The Marvel Offices were so impressed with the sales figures
coming from these artists that they were willing to do almost anything to
keep them.

One thing they weren't, though, was to give up some of the money they were
making out of selling licensed materials (t-shirts, pins, posters, etc.)
done by those artists. For these as well as other reasons, the above
artists and a few more fled Marvel in what has come to be called the
X-Odus, since so many of them worked on mutant titles at the time. They
went and founded Image. For more information, you should ask at rac.misc.

How this relates to Claremont leaving, as well as his good friend and
fellow X-writer Louise Simonson, is as follows: maybe on his own, perhaps
because of pressure from the offices above him, Harras was extremely
protective of the Image artists on his titles. Somebody, somewhere, was
convinced that they were why the titles were selling, and wanted them made
as comfortable as possible. The trouble with the Image artists on monthly
books, like the X-Men, has been shown: they're all terribly slow, and
usually were late. This annoyed Claremont, who was accustomed to working
with workhorses like John Byrne and Dave Cockrum.

Also, as the Image team started recognizing how much strength they had at
Marvel, they started asking for more power. Jim Lee, Claremont's penciler
at the time on UXM, in particular wanted more say in how the plot went.
Claremont, usually more than happy to coplot with his artists, didn't like
the fact that Lee's idea of coplotting was that he drew the issue any way
he felt like, and then shipped it off to Claremont, usually just under
deadline, for him to fill in the dialogue balloons with no say in what
would appear in the issue. While the usual practice at Marvel is to have
the art made before the dialogue is written (it's a practice that started
back when Stan Lee was writing every Marvel book in the 60s, and it's even
called the "Marvel Style" comics-writing), usually coplotting involves
the writer and the artist deciding what will be in the issue together.

When Claremont complained about this, and the usual tardiness of Lee, to
Harras, he was told that his opinions were recognized, and things were
being worked on. However, nothing apparently was ever done. Indeed, Harras
gave Lee complete plot veto on any new plot lines (it should be noted that
Lee did not request anything like that from Harras). This meant that Lee
had all effective plotting power on the X-Men title, since he could, if he
felt like it, deny Claremont any plot that he didn't like.

All of this might seem a bit rude, and possibly Claremont felt that after
giving twenty years of his life to this one title, he was entitled to a
bit of info as to what, exactly, the editor of that book wanted from his
writer. Apparently Harras either never answered, or else didn't answer to
Claremont's satisfaction, so after issue #3 of the new X-Men book, Chris
Claremont left the X-titles. A sign of the atmosphere he left in was that
his departure wasn't even mentioned in the letter columns of the books he
had written for sixteen years. Louise Simonson, who had much the same
experiences happen to her, left at about the same time. To be frank,
Claremont's scripting, plotting, and dialogue had been slipping in his
final years, and a sabbatical would certainly have been helpful even in
more calm circumstances.

Chris Claremont returned to Marvel a few years ago, albeit in a different
capacity. He was a Vice-President position at Marvel, in charge of story
development across the Marvel titles, and his writing tasks included
Fantastic Four and a six-issue run of Wolverine. Evidently Claremont had
enough fun on the titles that he decided to come back--the Revolution of
the X-titles saw Claremont return as scripter and plotter of the core
titles just shy of 100 issues after his departure.

With the departure of what was once the most dependable writing corps in
the history of major comics, Harras was now free to fill the titles with
writers who wouldn't complain so much about the artists who wanted to run
the titles a bit more indepth. The first person he got, though, perhaps in
an attempt to reclaim some of the "Big Name" marquee value he lost when
Claremont left, was old X-Men penciller and co-plotter John Byrne. Byrne,
however, was not going to even be given the illusionary title of "writer";
he was just there to script Jim Lee's X-Men plots, and Whilce Portacio's
plots for Uncanny X-Men.

Byrne lasted only five issues on Uncanny (#281-285), and only two on the
new X-Men (#4-5). According to Byrne, he encountered the same troubles as
Claremont as scripter of the books. Lee and Portacio were consistently
late. Pages were faxed to Byrne hours before deadline for him to dialogue
as they came in, often without knowing how the book was going to end
because the plotter/artists hadn't bothered informing him.

Byrne complained to Harras. Byrne pointed out that in any other DC or
Marvel comic, the writers usually got three months to work on one issue
(most are done far before then, but that's the usual margin of safety).
He didn't mind working a few extra nights and burning the midnight oil,
because he liked the X-Men, but all he asked for was at least one month to
actually think about the issue. Harras thanked him for his comments, and
said he would work on it. No further pages were ever faxed to Byrne for
him to script.

Having now annnoyed most of the major X-writers of the past to the point
that they wouldn't work with him, Harras ended up with Scott Lobdell (a
stand-up comedian and comics writer Harras offered the job to at a party)
and Fabian Nicieza (one of Marvel's editors) as his main writers on the
X-titles. All was looking good until the X-Odus occurred, and suddenly
Harras didn't have all the Big Name Artists that had to be so carefully
protected. The chances of Harras getting back Claremont and Byrne to write
now that the artists who were partially to blame for driving them away
were gone was rather slim, so there was an obvious period of scrambling at
the X-offices to get creative teams to cover the books.

With Claremont gone, the brightest bit of writing in the X-titles had to
be Peter David, the new writer on the "new" X-Factor. Easily mixing his
standard blend of top-notch humor with good characterization, David was
impressing people with how interesting a bunch of once second-rate mutant
characters could be. Not even this relationship was a smooth one, however,
because David quickly became annoyed by another mainstay of the mutant
titles: the crossover.

David didn't like the fact that the mutant titles invariably crossovered
once a year, often for three or so issues. He also didn't like how he was
always given fill-in artists because artist Joe Quesada was never on time
with his art (a common complaint apparently). He felt that it was an
insult to the reader to have to make do with shoddy art that was rushed
out because the regular penciler couldn't be bothered to get his art out
on time.

Meanwihle, he expressed disgust that the X-Office didn't even want him
continuing his main plot during the crossovers. He had to fight and
complain just to get one page per issue in of his normal, supposedly
ongoing, plot in his own book. Why? The editors said that it was simpler
if there was no ongoing plot in the crossovers, because then it would be
easier to collect the whole thing in a trade paperback for future resale
value without having to edit out those annoying exterior plotlines.

David's other complaints (which were listed for the net.community in a
resignation-style letter) included the mangled rescripting of a plot
device that originally was supposed to detect whether a woman's fetus was
a mutant or not (thus possibly opening the option of an abortion), as well
as demands about what characters he was supposed to feature in a given
issue. A message posted to an AOL folder in March 2000 sums it up:

Two reasons: I was having to backburner my ongoing storylines every
three issues or so to accommodate crossovers (giving it a very dis-
jointed feel) and the editors were "taking over" the book in that
they were dictating storylines and developments that I felt were
going to be damaging (ex: Insert Random as a member of the team and
kill off the Multiple Man.) Also they were changing my dialogue
unilaterally after I'd turned it in without telling me. So I walked.

PAD

With that being what he had to live with, David resigned from X-Factor.
The usual bunch of scrambling, fill-in teams rushed to fill his and
Quesada's shoes (Quesada, like most of the "hot" artists, apparently
cannot be bothered to keep to a monthly standard).

As a final note, it's unsure just how much ill-will there still is over
the X-Odus fallout. Claremont and Lee, for instance, apparently like each
other enough that Claremont wrote three issues of Lee's WildC.A.T.S. comic
(hardly a major sign of dislike).


--- Are any Marvel staff reading xbooks? (+)

Some are. Most come and then go again, though. Some do so because they're
no longer involved with the X-Titles, others because they can't keep up
with the sheer volume of discussion, and others because they just aren't
that interested.

Over the past few years, the newsgroup has been visited by the likes of
Chris Claremont, Peter David, Keith R. A. DeCandido, Warren Ellis, Jay
Faerber, Steven Grant, Larry Hama, Joseph Harris, Rob Liefeld, Scott
Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza, Brandon Peterson, Joe Pruett, Ben Raab, Tom
Raney, Steven Seagle, Louise "Weezie" Simonson, Walter Simonson, Robert
Weinberg, Anthony Williams, Brian C. Wood, and J. Steven York. If you
wander over to our sister group, rac.misc, you'll also see Kurt Busiek,
Tony Isabella, and Christopher Priest. Still others have participated with
rac.* regulars on mailing lists or message boards. Some are/were regular
contributors, while others posted a single response and never returned.

All this means, of course, that posters on xbooks should maybe think twice
before posting up personal attacks on the creative staff of the X-titles,
since, unlike for a long period of Usenet history, they're finally around
and a lot of xbookers would like them to continue to contribute to the
group.

Not insulting people in general is a good policy to aim for, of course.
Not threatening them, however, is something that needs to be underscored.
Many fans tend to get angry at a creator's treatment of their favorite
characters, and may occasionally post (in jest) threats of violence on
the newsgroup, i.e.: "Such-and-such writer should be drawn, quartered,
and hung for doing this to Wolverine, and if I ever find out where he
lives I'll likely do it myself." This is Not Cool. Please don't do it.


--- Why do all these annoying dinos keep on complaining about the X-titles
here? If they don't like the books, why do they read them?

The answer to this is as diverse as the fans it's asked to, and the
question usually comes up once every three months or so on the newsgroup.
Realizing that this answer is going to be hopelessly generalized, most
older X-fans still follow the book because of the loyalty generated by
Claremont during his original run. Many of them grew to care about the
characters in the book during his run, and out of some sort of perverse
curiosity, care deeply when they are mismanaged as they are currently
perceived to be.

Dropping the book, of course, would send the "message" to Marvel that they
no longer agree with the direction the X-titles are heading. On the other
hand, a feeling like "If you don't vote, you don't have the right to
complain" also comes over some of them. And every small bit of good comics
that sneaks through fuels their memories of how much they once loved it,
and keeps them around for more.

It may be that they're now grown up, and wouldn't have liked the original
Claremont stories if they were coming out now. It may be that they're just
following them out of curiosity, because a few comic books aren't much to
keep up on with a professional paycheck. They may even prefer the stories
as they are now. In any case, older X-fans who are still reading the book
should be assumed to be getting some form of enjoyment from it, or else
they would probably have dropped it long ago.

It should also be noted that there is one particular breed of dino, who
don't read any of the books, but feel qualified to post on xbooks because
they were once big X-Men fans, and will happily fill in information on the
older comics and the characters that appeared in them to the newer fans.

Finally, many of the dino population have good friends who post regularly
to xbooks, and hang around to share in their virtual community.


--- What is this Kid Dynamo thing? Where can I find it?

Kid Dynamo is a fan-fiction written by once-netter Connie Hirsch, which
deals with the New Mutants in the days just after Magneto took over the
School (right after New Mutants #52). A very good story by any standards,
most people who have read it have granted it automatic status in official
Marvel history, vastly preferring it to the eventual rise of Cable and the
appearance of X-Force, or at least delaying that inevitable occurence by
including Kid Dynamo.

You can find Kid Dynamo on the Fonts of Wisdom Bootleg page. The URL is
http://home.att.net/~lubakmetyk/bootleg.htm . The fanfic is very long, by
the way; 12 full-size chapters. It takes a while to read. It's worth it.


--- Where can I get scans of comic art? Why doesn't anybody post pictures
on the newsgroup?

Well, besides the fact that it's illegal under copyright law to republish
other people's artwork without their permission....

While it's perfectly possible, and commonplace, to post scanned artwork to
Usenet, it's not always a nice thing to do. The main reason is that some
people like to read their newsgroups using an off-line newsreader, which
downloads all the articles (and attached binaries) at once and lets them
read the postings without being hooked up to a modem. Obviously, it's an
inconvenience for them to have to download several megs of binary graphics
images if they aren't looking for them.

If you're looking for comic art on Usenet, the newsgroup
alt.binaries.pictures.cartoons is the closest thing you're going to find--
but be forewarned that X-Men art very rarely, if ever, finds its way onto
that particular group. Outside of Usenet, the Where Can I Find It? FAQ has
a listing of web pages and ftp sites with digitized comic artwork.


------------------------------

Subject: X-MEN OTHER-MEDIA QUESTIONS (+)

NOTE: These questions pertain to the movie and cartoon versions of the
X-Men, not to their actual comic-book incarnations. The non-comics stuff
is actually on-topic in the newsgroup rec.arts.comics.other-media, and
not in RACMX, so please post to that group!


--- How is _X-Men: The Movie_ different from the comics? (+)

There are many, many ways that the movie is different from the actual
mainstream continuity of the comics. For one, the school has far more
mutants in it than the casts of Uncanny, X-Men, Generation X, and the
Hellions/New Mutants/X-Force kids combined.

The team in _XM:TM_ consists of Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Storm, all led by
Xavier. In movie continuity, Cyke and Jean are not yet married (though
they share a room in the mansion), and Jean is a doctor. Wolverine and
Rogue first meet in Canada, instead of meeting when Rogue runs away from
the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and comes knocking at Xavier's door. A
few other things must be noted about Rogue. First of all, in the regular
comics Rogue has the powers of flight and invulnerability, which she
gained from Ms. Marvel in the classic Avengers Annual #10. She's also had
her distinctive white stripe from the get-go. Furthermore, the Rogue of
the comics has *never* revealed her real name on-panel, and it's strongly
believed that if anyone knows it other than Rogue's original parents, it
would be Mystique (Rogue's foster mother) or Destiny (Mystique's long-
time companion).

The villains and supporting cast also have changed. Toad probably received
the most changes to his character, and all are improvements. The Toad of
the comics was always an Igor-like hunchback to Magneto, and usually did
little more than jump around uttering annoying lines. The Toad of _XM:TM_,
however, can climb walls much more efficiently, has a strong tongue that
can grasp items, and a rather nasty ooze.


--- What cameos are there in _X-Men: The Movie_? (+)

Quite a few cameos of (and homages to) familiar characters appear in
_XM:TM_. They are:

* Bobby: Bobby Drake is Iceman, an American adult who can create ice
and snow from the moisture in the air, and travel on created ice-
slides. He was a founding member of the X-Men. (He has lines.)
* Kitty: Kitty Pryde is Shadowcat, a Jewish-American teenager who can
phase through walls and short-ciruit any electronics she passes
through. She's currently an X-Man. (She has lines.)
* John: St. John Allerdyce is Pyro, an Australian adult villain who can
control, but *not* generate, any fire or flame. He was a member of
Freedom Force and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. (He has lines.)
* Jubilee: Jubilation Lee is Jubilee, a Chinese-American teenager who
can make colorful fireworks and small explosions. Known for her
yellow jacket, she's currently a member of Generation X. (She has
no lines but can be seen in the same two classroom scenes as Kitty.)
* Colossus: Piotr Rasputin is Colossus, a Russian adult who can turn
his entire body into organic steel. He's an artist, and is currently
an X-Man. (He has no lines but can be seen in the opening mansion
scenes sketching near the lily pond and basketball court.)


--- What other movies or cartoons are there? (+)

There have been quite a few attempts to cash in on the X-Men craze in
other media. A quick rundown:

* _Pryde of the X-Men_ (1989)(TV)
_Pryde_ was the first attempt to make an X-Men cartoon. Characters
include Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Xavier, Emma Frost, Toad, and
the Blob. It's really a failed series pilot that was repackaged for
video sale. Notable for thin plot and poor voice casting, it uses
an Australian accent for Wolverine. It runs 30 minutes and is pretty
bad.

* _X-Men_ (1992)(TV)
This is how it should be done. The cartoon cast includes Xavier,
Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Gambit, Wolverine, Jubilee, Storm, Beast,
and a whole host of villains along with Magneto. The voice casting
was very well done, the plots were generally stable, and the series
touched upon many other X-Men and Marvel characters in its 5-year
stint. While continuity wasn't always in line with the comics (the
most obvious examples being Morph's inclusion and the not-quite-
right attempt at the Phoenix Saga), the characterization was great.

* _Generation X_ (1996)(TV)
The first live-action adaptation of the mutant franchise was this
TV-movie. The villain of this story is Russell Trask, played by Matt
Frewer (of _Max Headroom_ fame). Trask is a scientist out to use
mutants to advance his schemes. When he finds out that old adversary
Emma Frost is teaching a bunch of mutant teenagers, he decides to
kidnap her students to use in his attempts to control the world by
controlling everyone's dreams. Characters included the familiar
Emma Frost, Banshee, Jubilee, M, and Skin, a weird version of Mondo,
and new characters Buff and Refrax. It had a few moments, but was
generally miscast (a white girl as Jubilee?) and poorly plotted. A
sequel was planned in 1999 but never made it to production.

* _X-Men_ (2000)(Movie)
A well-done live-action foray into the X-Men and mutant politics,
this movie was well-received by fans. While the continuity is off,
and the costumes are black leather, the overall acting, effects, and
characterization are spot on. Notable performances include Patrick
Stewart as Xavier and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Chock-full of small
homages and cameos for fans, the movie was well-received by the non-
comics moviegoing public.

* _X-Men: Evolution_ (2000)(TV)
This series hadn't premiered as of the writing of this blurb, but
it should show up sometime between October and December, 2000. The
cartoon supposedly features Cyclops, Jean Grey, Rogue, Nightcrawler,
Shadowcat, and Spike as teenagers as they fight for a world that
fears and hates them.


------------------------------

Subject: OTHER XBOOKERS WHO MAY BE OF ASSISTANCE

Okay. You've tried ALL the above. You've gone through every site on the
net. You've even created your own, just to say you searched it. You've
posted your question to xbooks, even, and you didn't get an answer (well,
actually, that isn't too surprising). What Can You Do?

You can do the last resort: emailing friendly netters! The following is a
list of xbookers who have, out of the goodness of their hearts, agreed to
be accessible net.help on any of the following topics. Please note that
the only payment these people are receiving is the warm glow of seeing
knowledge safely passed on, so please be polite and appreciative of them.
If you aren't, they'll stop answering questions. And we don't want that.

Anyone who would like to be on this list can contact the FAQ keeper.
Please include an area of expertise that you'd be willing to field
questions on. And while it seems logical, please include your preferred
email address in your summary of your talents--you'll be surprised how
often this is forgotten. The listkeeper will tend to only put names here
that are recognized as netters who have been around long enough to know
that they know what they're talking about, but feel free to ask to be put
on. This is mainly to insure that any questioning newcomers won't get
shuffled off to some joker.

Here are the Friendly Folk, in their own (slightly edited) words:

Kate the Short (ra...@yahoo.com) and Aardy R. DeVarque
(rgf...@yahoo.com)

I've been on the newsgroup since early 1993, and now keep all
of the FAQs for the newsgroup. Aardy is my husband, and he
has been around almost as long. He keeps the Exhaustive
Completist's Supplemental X-Men Checklist and Annotated Index
(that is, all appearances of X-men outside of X-titles,
one-shots, and limited series).

Our collection of X-titles is massive. We have complete runs of
Uncanny X-Men from Giant-Size #1 to the present (and some issues
from the original run), New Mutants, Excalibur, Generation X,
X-Force, X-Factor, and most current-continuity X-titles, as well
as most one-shots and limited series. We've dropped Mutant X and
X-Man. We own tons of those old "crossover" issues and and cameo
appearances in other titles. Aardy's best for the research while
I usually deal with the internet resources.


Samy Merchi (sam...@mash.yok.utu.fi)

I'm proficient in all X-books published from 1975 to July 1999.
My favorite stuff includes anything by Claremont, the X-Men's
Australian period, Peter David's X-Factor, Claremont's New
Mutants and Fabian Nicieza's X-Force. All X-books are my areas
of expertise, but I'm especially knowledgeable with the New
Mutants, X-Force and Sunspot.


Blair Maynard, aka Doody Family (dood...@esatclear.ie)

My very own special area of expertise is obscure Wolverine guest
appearances in other Marvel books and a heap of Wolvie-related
awful one-shots and mini-series. I also have a scary interest in
Scott Lobdell, as I have most of his run on the x-books. Also,
if you have AoA questions I should be able to answer them.


Dwayne MacKinnon (d...@freenet.carleton.ca)

This man loooooooooooves Alpha Flight. Nuff Said.


Paul O'Brien (pa...@esoterica.demon.co.uk)

I'm a total continuity geek, me. You name it, I probably
remember it. Unless it's something to do with the Brood, or
early X-Factor, or the insanely convoluted pre-X-Men history
of Wolverine. And don't even ask about Alpha Flight. Other
than that, there's a pretty good chance I know it...


Mike Lavin, aka Greenstool (mrl...@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu)

Biggest strengths are Artie, Leech, the Hellions, the New
Mutants, early X-Factor, and X-Force. I'm willing to take a
stab at just about anything except: Alpha Flight; Marvel time
travel (ughh), Rachel Summers's history, or the
Revanche/Psylocke fiasco.

My collection is not complete by any means, but it grows all
the time, since I am always on the lookout for items I don't
have. If you can't tell, I'm a wee bit obsessive about the
X-Men. :)


------------------------------

Subject: HISTORY OF THIS FAQ

RACMX is the latest in a line of newsgroups dealing with the X-Men. The
prior incarnation was rec.arts.comics.xbooks, and its sage was David R.
Henry, who originated it. The original FAQ was broader, with more
information on more things, like netiquette, the video games, neat X-Men
resources, and all the publications about or involving the X-Men. Much of
this FAQ is still his work.

Kate the Short took out the resources and the netiquette, and made two
different FAQ's out of them which she maintains independently.

Jane Griffin did a whole pile of work after taking over for DRH, adding
several new questions (and answers), integrating issue numbers, separating
out the list of X-Men publications, and producing the first official HTML
version. She and Kate worked together to reorganize much of the FAQ as it
grew.

Marty Blase maintained the FAQ after Jane left.

After almost two years of dormancy, Kate decided to take on the darned
thing again. Be nice and help her out, okay?


------------------------------

Subject: CREDITS

This FAQ could never have remained as up-to-date as it is (well, was...)
without the contributions of the following people:

* Lady Amethyst * Johan Lundstrom
* Ken Arromdee * William May
* Charlie Ball * Jennifer J. McGee
* Cami Benham * Sonja Mendoza
* David C. Bredenberg * Brucha Meyers
* D.A. Brooks * Danny Miller
* Chris Campbell * Toby Nieboer
* Eric Chastain (aka T-Rex) * Andrew Oakley
* Russ Cullins * Paul O'Brien
* Judy Daniluk * Pecadilo
* Keith R.A. DeCandido * Al Petterson
* Nick Demmon * Martin Phipps
* Aardy R. DeVarque * Shane Potter
* Brian Fried * Joanne Puchalik
* Tom Galloway * queenB
* Eivind Gladheimstreng * Deepak Ramani
* Addison Godel * Maryann Robbins
* Jane Griffin * Chris Schumacher
* Robert Gruhn * Amy Sheldon
* David Goldfarb * Clara Showalter
* Chris Holly * Eric Stieglitz
* Joe Helfrich * The Stirge
* Matt Hutchins * Swpwarrior
* Marie Javins * Chris Sypal
* Rick Jones * uplink
* Joe Krug * Alasdair Watson
* Mike "Greenstool" Lavin * Mitchell Wietz
* Carol Dawn Lee * James Willer
* Hosun Lee * Craig Welsh
* Diane Levitan
* Jacob Levy
* Sean Lightner

Special thanks go to Jane Griffin, for keeping this thing in excellent
working order; Marty Blase, for helping keep the entire newsgroup sane
and enjoyable; and David R. Henry, without whom, I assure you, this would
not have been possible.


*** See also: The RACMX Glossary ***

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